As I hinted before, there was a local option election a couple of years ago to allow liquor by the glass at restaurants. Pearlanders were told at that time that this was no slippery slope and that there would be no more elections to loosen alcohol laws. Apparently, this is not the case. Pearlanders will see another alcohol related referendum on the ballot this November. This one will allow retail stores to sell beverages with a higher alcohol content than is currently allowed. Retailers such as Kroger will then be able to sell items such as wine and hard cider in addition to beer.
One of the arguments I've seen in favor of making Pearland more wet is the probable increase in sales tax revenue.
If passed by vote of 50 percent plus one, the elections will keep alcohol tax revenue currently going to Harris County and other wet areas at home, advocates said. Stores in Pearland and many other Brazoria County cities currently cannot sell wine, losing sales from customers who prefer to shop for alcohol and groceries at one place, they said...
[Pearland Chamber of Commerce Chairman Gary Bucek] projected that additional sales tax revenue from alcohol sales could bring Pearland between $250,000 and $500,000 yearly.
Wow! $250,000 to $500,000 in additional sales tax revenue to Pearland! Just how much wine do we Pearlanders drink?
Pearland's sales tax rate is 1.5%. The state and county portions of the sales tax are irrelevant because Mr. Bucek's claim was the tax accretion solely to Pearland. Besides, with respect to the state's 6.25% sales tax, it doesn't really matter if alcohol sales are made in Pearland or Harris County -- either way the money goes to Austin. So in order to earn $250,000 to $500,000 in additional sales tax revenue, there must be $16.7 million to $33.3 million in wine sales in Pearland. (The Pearland Journal article suggests there might be an increase in Pearland-based sales of grocery complements to wine due to the change in the law, but this is immaterial. A filet mignon purchased at Kroger is not subject to sales tax.)
Pearland's population is 80,503, including minor children. Based on this, we can determine the value of the wine Mr. Bucek thinks Pearlanders will buy from local grocery stores. Per capita, Mr. Bucek assumes that Pearlanders will spend $207-414 per year on wine at grocery stores and a family of four will spend $828-1,656 on wine at grocery stores. Remember, this does not include alcohol purchased at restaurants which is already legal. Nor does it count beer sold at grocery stores and convenience stores, which is already legal. This is essentially Mr. Bucek's expectation on how much wine Pearlanders will buy at retail stores. Even on the low end of Mr. Bucek's range, the average family of four will spend $20 / week, every single week of the year on wine.
For the record, the Anti-Corruption household buys less than a bottle of wine per year. Maybe someone else is drinking two bottles of wine per week to make up for us. Do you average a $20 bottle of wine each and every week of the year?
FWIW, I plan on voting against making Pearland more wet. I don't expect my position to prevail, but I do not like dishonesty. We were told a few years ago that there would be no more alcohol referendums. That wasn't true. Now, we're being given wild projections on how much tax revenue will be raised by allowing wine sales at retail stores. If these people are on the up-and-up, why can't they tell the truth?